Teacher’s tips for single families
Many families struggle to know how to support their children through challenges in their life. When we send our children to school, we want them to have positive and meaningful lives. However, reality sets in, and children experience turbulence, negative experiences, and sometimes even harsher realities like bullying.
For single-parent households managing work, a house, and children can be difficult. Prioritizing how to help students in the classroom at home can be confusing and convoluted. Read on for the top ways to support your kids at home to prepare them to be successful students from a teacher!
One of the essential ways any parent can help a child is to read to them for 20 minutes a day! This small increment of time paired with a cozy bedtime activity– sign me up. If you are having trouble finding books, go to your local library and check out books. Also, sometimes local resale stores will sometimes let you trade books when you come in. Talk with the owner to see if that is an option.
When you’re reading to a small child put your finger on the words as you read so the child can look and see the words. Small children can also memorize a book sometimes and boost their confidence by “reading” it to you.
When your child is older, reading to them at night can help you as a parent bond when you read something you both are interested in! Take turns reading aloud to one another! This time will help build your child’s relationship with you as their parent, help them with vocabulary and reading skills, and boost their confidence in the classroom!
If you’re a single parent with multiple kids of all different ages it can be hard to find the time for this! I suggest getting the kids involved as much as possible to take the weight off of you! Empower older children to read to younger children, or read aloud to all of them at once! No matter what, making that time is the best investment you can make in your child’s life from day one of life! If you haven’t started yet, don’t worry! It’s never too late to start that investment now!
Supporting your child in elementary grades with math is also critical! When children enter fourth grade they should have their multiplication facts memorized! When students have their math facts memorized up to 12 it increases their math literacy and helps students solve future math problems much faster!
Single parents can provide flashcards or download a free app or game on a Chromebook! I think Xtramath.org is my favorite math fluency resource for any computer that accesses the internet and is compatible with iPads as well! When students are successful in reading and math kids enjoy school more and have more positive experiences.
Another way to help students is by making sure they are developing life skills like showing up on time, organization, and cleaning up after themselves. While this may seem like a no-brainer sometimes if life skills haven’t been explicitly taught to children they may be weak in this area of life.
For single-parent homes where children are moving from one household a week or changing households mid-week, these life skills are important to develop as children have to keep track of things across two different places. Life skills are extremely important for children that have single parents that work in the evening. Life skills can help children have a plan of action and know what to do for themselves when they need to finish homework or do a project for school!
You can use charts or checklists to help students grow their life skills. These charts or checklists can be posted somewhere to help the child be able to refer back to their goals, their daily chores or how to put something away.
The internet 🙂
If you have a child that has a phone, they are exposed to the internet! Children can find all kinds of ideas or images online. I’m not trying to say control your child, but there are steps that all parents need to take in order to protect and help their children! The first is to talk explicitly about talking to others online. Make sure children know not to give away personal information to strangers online.
The second thing is to monitor, monitor and monitor! As a single parent, you may not have the luxury to keep your child from scrolling the web. So, if your child is spending time online ask if you can sit with them and look to, ask them to show you their favorite youTube video, and let them teach you their favorite game online! You might be surprised how much they can do on the computer and how fun the things they show you might be! Also, this can help your child feel like they can confide in you and build your relationship with them as well.
The third thing that can help is to make sure your child is not harassing anyone or bullying, anyone, online! Sometimes it can be hard to spot! Monitor to see if they ever send any harsh comments on a video or image. Also, monitor social media to ensure they speak nicely to everyone they go to school with and are not sending any lewd or inappropriate photos!
These are important conversations parents can have with their children in multiple different ways, and these conversations should be ongoing as children spend more time online over the course of their life!
Checking in with feelings
Just asking about a child’s day and allowing them to talk about it in their own way while asking supporting questions can help children confide in you if anything ever does go wrong! Making sure that you are a good listener by making eye contact and not sending one more email helps communicate that you love your child more than anything going on your cell phone. Asking children to tell you how their feeling and why can even help them manage their own personal experiences. Sometimes talking aloud helps to remember your thoughts!